American Legion 40-Year Member Certificate

Source: Minnie B. Parker Scrapbook Manuscript Collection #89

Staff Person: Martha G. Elmore

Description: Minnie Bell Parker lived most of her adult life in Norfolk, Virginia,  after being born October 10, 1881, in Wilson Co., N.C.  She was a nurse and during World War I she was a nurse with the American Expeditionary Force in France.  After the war she was active in the American Legion and this colorful 40-year continuous membership certificate was presented to her on June 24, 1960.  She died in Raleigh, N.C., on July 5, 1976.  To see a scrapbook she kept while in France during World War I, go here


Photo of General Eisenhower

Source: Jerome R. Worsley Papers (Manuscript Collection #1214)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: Jerome R. Worsley, a Bethel, N.C., native and 1949 graduate of East Carolina Teachers College, served in the U.S. Army for two years including a year in Paris, France, as office manager for Special Services for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.  SHAPE, the  military unit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), was established April 2, 1951, with General Eisenhower as its first Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe (SACEUR).  SHAPE was created to establish an integrated effective NATO military force under a centralized military organization with one NATO commander.  Source:

Posthumous Wartime Award

Source: Hugh Elroy Best Family Collection, Manuscript Collection #894.1

Staff Member: Nanette Hardison

This U.S Army photograph, taken on June 20, 1969 by C. Gene Tyree, DAC at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is of LTG John J. Tolson, Commander General XVIII Corps, presenting the Silver Star and Bronze Medal posthumously to Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Best, Jr., who is receiving the medals on behalf of their deceased son, Hugh E. Best, III, who was killed in action in 1969 in the Vietnam War. Mrs. Hugh E. Best, Jr. (Glanor Gay Best) served in the WAAC (Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps) during World War II beginning in 1942. A picture of her along with her husband and father-in-law, Hugh Elroy Best, Sr., is featured in the Lady Liberty: Women During Wartime exhibit that is currently on display on the fourth floor of Joyner Library in the Manuscripts and Rare Books Department. The exhibit will be on display from September 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014.

Officers Standing at Attention

Source: Leslie Avery Shaw Papers, #992

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

This image dated 1945 is among the personal papers of Leslie Avery Shaw who served as a Captain in the 11th AAA, 49th AAA Brigade, VII Corps in the U.S. First Army that was stationed in Europe during World War II. The image is of a group of officers standing at attention in front of a building. In the front row is General E. W. Timberlake. In the second row are Col. Mahoney and Lt. Col. Caulk and in the third row (left to right) are Majors Scordas, Downing, Abbott; Captains Shaw, Dyer, Rowe, Litzenburger; and Lts. Ackerly, Fredin, and Wilk.

Pvt. Victor C. Faure, WWI

Source: Victor C. Faure Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1201

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


The letter is written by Pvt. Victor C. Faure to his parents, Henry E. Faure and Inge Peterson Faure, who live in San Francisco, California, describing his experiences during World War I.

From his letter above he describes Army life on Tuesday September 24, 1918, as continually on the move… near the front in France…never know where we will be next…we can hear the guns…don’t want to see corned beef again for about a year…

You will notice pages one and two have parts cut off, they probably were censored.

Other letters describe his participation with the First Army as part of the American Expeditionary Force

First A.A.F. Bombardment Crew to Raid Germany

Source: Frank A. Armstrong, Jr. Papers

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

Description: Colonel Frank Armstrong with air crew in front of bomber. This 306th Heavy Bomber Group, Army Air Forces crew flew first daylight bombardment raid over Germany during World War II.

81st Infantry Division Wildcat Shoulder Patch

81st Infantry Division Wildcat Shoulder Patch

81st Infantry Division Wildcat Shoulder Patch


George Willcox Mclver Papers (Addition #6), East Carolina Manuscript Collection #251

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo


The Carolina Wildcat insignia displayed here is a reproduction of the shoulder patches worn by Headquarters units of the 81st Infantry Division during World War I. Although the division included troops from Florida, Puerto Rico, and New York City, the insignia recognized the fact that the bulk of troops in the 81st were from the Carolinas. This insignia is known as the first divisional insignia to be adopted in the U. S. Army. It quickly proved popular in the division. The various brigades, regiments, and specialty units quickly adopted slightly modified versions for their patches. The 161st Infantry Brigade had a white wildcat insignia. The 162nd Infantry Brigade wore a blue patch; the 156th Field Artillery Brigade patch was red; and the 306th Field Signal Battalion wore a yellow insignia. The patch served an important purpose in creating and enhancing unit identity, cohesion and pride.

When the 81st Infantry Division embarked for France in late July 1918 its morale was low. One of the last units of the American Expeditionary Force to arrive in France, it was unprepared for combat. It lacked much of its transport and equipment. Many of the men lacked training. Ethnic and racial tensions created disunity within the ranks. But after the adoption of the Carolina Wildcat shoulder patches, the 81st behaved heroically in combat. The 81st made significant gains against intense last-ditch German resistance. The popularity of the shoulder patches quickly spread to other divisions in the AEF. By the end of the war most had adopted their own patches. Today shoulder patches are prevalent throughout the U. S. Army. Although its official nickname continues to be the “Stonewall Division,” the 81st Division is today best known throughout the Army as the “Wildcat Division.”

Source: Shoulder Patch Insignia (ca. 1918-1945) of the 81st Division. George Willcox McIver Papers (Addition #6) #251.7.a

You may access the finding aid to the George Willcox McIver Papers at: Manuscript Collection 251

To view an enlarged version of this image, click on the image itself.

Howard Zacher in his plane “Margie”

Source: Hugh Elroy Best, Jr. Family Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #894

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

This week’s pick comes from a collection that contains photographic prints and photocopied documents relating to military service of three generations of a Tarboro, NC family. The family members include Hugh E. Best, Sr., Hugh E. Best, Jr., Glanor Gay Best, Gaston Gay and Hugh E. Best III.

All we know about Hugh E. Best, Sr. is that he served in the U.S. Navy. Hugh E. Best, Jr. served from 1942 until 1946 in both the U.S. Army Air Forces and the U.S. Air Corps. Glanor Gay Best, Hugh E. Best, Jr.’s wife, served during World War II in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), beginning in 1942. Gaston Gay was a relative of Glanor Gay Best and was a Merchant Marine serving on the U.S.S. Mariana when it was lost at sea on March 3, 1942. He received the Mariner’s Medal posthumously. Hugh Elroy Best, III, son of Hugh E. Best, Jr. and Glanor Gay Best, served as an Army Lieutenant during the Vietnam War. He was killed in action in South Vietnam in January of 1969. He had been awarded the Silver Star for Valor just prior to his death.

The image below is apparently of a pilot who served with Best, Jr. in the U.S. Air Corps. The inscription on the back reads “Howard L. Zacher, Pilot, Airstrip 72 — France, Ship: B-26- No. 462 ‘Margie’, July 4, 1945.”

Howard L. Zacher in his plane Margie.

Howard L. Zacher in his plane Margie.